The bigger picture

When working on cross-functional teams, R&D members can see their work in a whole new context

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A telling correlation

 

There is a strong correlation between project success criteria and the skills required by R&D members to maximize their effectiveness.  For a project to be successful, it must clear hurdles across a range of issues, namely:

 

*Consumer

*Financial

*Quality and supply chain

*Safety/regulatory/legal

* Sales and customer

 

For R&D professionals to be fully effective, they must possess cross-functional skills in the same key areas:

 

Consumer:  The core mission of any food or beverage company is to develop, manufacture and market products that meet consumer needs. The ability to understand consumers and consumer communication vehicles is critical to R&D's partnership role in product development or improvement.

 

R&D professionals should be knowledgeable in topics once considered the sole province of marketing professionals. These include, but are not limited to, a working knowledge of product concepts, product positionings  (consumer target, frame of reference, point of difference), brand equity, marketing and merchandising techniques, as well as drivers of product preference and measures of purchase behavior (i.e. volume, velocity, penetration, trial and repeat).

 

Financial:  It's often said that finance is the language of business.  In order to provide support and make decisions, business leaders must have product benefits, issues and risks translated into financial terms. This language must also be understood by R&D so members can fully appreciate the impact of their work and improve their contribution to the business enterprise. In order to impact business decisions, R&D must be able to speak the language of business and frame R&D information in the appropriate financial context.

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